YOUR WORD IS A LAMP UNTO MY FEET AND A LIGHT UNTO MY PATH
In this season of joy and reflection we celebrate the timeless message Your Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path. This deep truth resounded in the hearts of the unassuming shepherds, who amidst the peace and tranquility of the night, heard the sacred Words in the song sung by a host of angels guiding them to the manger where the Savior was born. As we gather to rejoice in this miraculous birth, let us also remember the wise men who were guided by a celestial light and followed it, as it illuminated the night sky. Their journey led them to the newborn king, and their gifts symbolized profound reverence and recognition of the divine Light.
In the spirit of the shepherds who heard the Word and the first ever Christmas carol, and the wise men who saw the Light, let us share the warmth of Christmas with one another as we exchange gifts and gestures of love. May we, like the shepherds, attune our hearts to the whispers of God’s word, finding solace and direction in the gentle nudge of its teachings as we resonate Christmas carols at home, in our churches and at public places. May the radiance of the streets, the glow of our churches and the illumination in our homes with the Star of Bethlehem strung on our corridors, mark the birth of Christ and dawn a new light to every seeking heart. May the Light and the Word continue to guide us towards compassion, understanding, and goodwill to brighten our journey to walk in the footsteps of love and kindness.
May the people who live in the darkness of hatred, violence and war, who live in the shadow of harassment and oppression see the Light and hear the Word of peace and hope this Christmas. Merry Christmas everyone.
Dr. Hrangthan Chhungi
A/D – Church, Public Relations and Resource Mobilisation Department
From 22nd October to 26th November 2023 the Odisha Auxiliary Secretary Rev Brajendra Kumar Kauri had the opportunity to engage in celebrating Bible Sunday in various churches across the Auxiliary. Despite difficulties God has enabled him to visit churches and celebrate Bible Sunday in English and Odia services at Odia Baptist Church in Sambalpur on 22nd October 2023, at Odia Baptist Church, Phulbani on 29th October, in the Union Church, Bhubaneswar and in the Cuttack Odia Baptist Church, Cuttack on 26th November. In all the churches, congregations were motivated and gave sacrificially to the ministry of the BSI. In all the churches, it was a good opportunity to revive some old prayer partners and supporters for the Bible cause.
World Sunday School Day
The Auxiliary Secretary had another great opportunity to celebrate the World Sunday School Day at Bolangir on 3rd November, along with the 400 + children who gathered in the church. The children were very happy to hear from the Bible and listen to the story of Mary Jones. On the same evening, in the Church, Rev Kauri was given an opportunity to observe Bible Sunday in the midst of a large crowd gathered from various congregations to talk about “Jesus, the foundation of the Church”. It was an enriching Sunday spent with hundreds of Bible lovers and an opportunity to meet with prayer partners, donors, church leaders and presbyters from many churches who were united in one heart to serve the Lord.
BSI GENERAL SECRETARY VISIT TO ODISHA AUXILIARY
BSI GENERAL SECRETARY VISIT TO ODISHA AUXILIARY AND CELEBRATION OF 40th ANNIVERSARY OF ODISHA AUXILIARY ON 25th and 26th NOVEMBER 2023
On the 25th of November at 10.30 am the Auxiliary staff had a wonderful time meeting with the BSI General Secretary Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo in the Auxiliary Office. GS spoke very encouraging words to all the staff, and everyone was grateful to GS for giving his valuable time and encouragement.
Celebration of 40th Anniversary of Odisha Auxiliary on November 25, 2023
The Odisha Auxiliary celebrated God’s faithfulness on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Odisha Auxiliary at Cuttack Odia Baptist Church. The GS, Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo, was the Chief Guest and Speaker for this historic celebration. The message was timely, so inspiring, heart touching and served to enrich the church, it was an awakening call to all of us to put God first in everything. Many participants expressed their thanks for the entire programme. People from different denominations were able to join in this celebration and had a blessed time to thank God by remembering His faithfulness. The Auxiliary Secretary expressed his heartfelt thanks to Rev. Dr. Bijaya Kumar Pattnaik, the National Vice President of BSI, and all the Office Bearers of the Odisha Auxiliary along with some Auxiliary Committee members for their presence and support.
On 26th November
The General Secretary Rev. Dr. Kavito G Zhimo shared the word of God and the ministry of BSI in two of the biggest churches on Sunday one in the Union Church, Bhubaneswar at 9:45 am, and the other at Cuttack Odia Baptist Church, Cuttack at 3.30 pm. The congregation was touched by the inspiring messages. Meeting with a few leaders and prayer partners after the services was very meaningful and would surely make an impact on the Bible Society ministries.
RUBY JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS ON NOVEMBER 25th 2023: REFLECTIONS ON THE 40th ANNIVERSARY OF BSI, ODISHA AUXILIARY (1983-2023)
Four decades of unstinting hard work is an accomplishment worth celebrating. The year 2023 marks Odisha Auxiliary’s 40th Anniversary since it was founded as a separate Auxiliary of the Bible Society of India. Since then, we have taken pride in developing the relationship with the Churches and Institutions, whether the work is big or small. 40 years is a long time to remain a viable unit of the Bible Society of India. Even as the past 40 years have seen many ups and downs, economic challenges in the market, technological innovations, and social changes, the one constant is our commitment to translate, print, distribute and to engage the people with Scripture, with the sole aim to build a transformed community. After all, we have started this auxiliary by listening to our prayer partners, supporters, stakeholders and formulating the cutting-edge Scriptures in different varieties, to meet their needs.
The Odisha Auxiliary: The Scripture Distribution Centre and later Bible Depot, which was functioning at Cuttack from 1943 as an extended arm of Kolkata Auxiliary’s work, gained full-fledged status as Orissa Auxiliary on 26th November 1983, which is known as Odisha Auxiliary to this day. Odisha has seen publication of Scriptures not only in Odia, the main language of the state, but also in several tribal languages such as Sora, Ho, Kui, Mundari and so on. Mounting demand for provision of Scriptures for the unlettered, the Auxiliary facilitated production of Audio Scriptures in Odia, Sora, and Juango language. The Odisha Auxiliary built the Bible House and inaugurated it on 19th September 1992 in Cuttack.
Work in Odisha Auxiliary: The translation work of the Odia New Testament was taken up in 1804 by Dr. William Carey and published in 1811. The Old Testament was completed and the whole Odia Bible was Published in 1819. The Odia Bible has transmuted into its present state after undergoing revisions at different times in 1839, 1840, 1844, 1862, 1872, 1927, 1957 by committed people of God from India and abroad. Besides this the common language version of the Odia Bible was published in 1995. Indeed, it was a matter of great joy that we had 12 varieties of Odia Bibles. The Odisha Auxiliary celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2008, from 2008 to 2018 we were able to add 7 varieties and from 2019 till today we could add 8 more varieties of the Scriptures. While the Auxiliary is celebrating its 40th Anniversary in 2023, we were able to publish 27 varieties of Odia Bibles as per the demand of the readers.
Scripture for Tribals: Odisha has a population of 47,920,000 at present. The state of Odisha occupies an important place in the country having a sizable concentration of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe population. Both ST & SC constitute 39.98% of the total population as per the 2011 census. The Bible Society of India has been focusing on the development of these people by providing the Scripture in their heart languages bringing about the transformation of their lives to live as an enlightened community. In the past 40 years some major tribal communities have received the Scripture fully or partially such as: Sora, Kui, Santali, Mundari, Ho, Kuvi, Kalahandia, Desia, Mirgan, Bodaparaja, Sambalpuri.
Audio Scripture through songs: The Bible Society of India had produced about 7 different Audio CDs and Cassettes, to communicate the Scripture in song formats. It also has Audio Scripture mainly for the visually challenged and the aged people.
Congratulations to the newly Consecrated Bishops of Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church
The Episcopal Consecration of three newly selected Bishops of Mar Thoma Syrian Church, Rt. Rev. Zacharias Mar Aprem Episcopa, Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Evanios Episcopa, Rt. Rev. Mathews Mar Seraphim Episcopa was held on 2nd December 2023, Saturday at SCS Campus, Thiruvalla. The Most Rev. Dr. Theodosius Mar Thoma Metropolitan (Auxiliary Committee Member & former BSI Executive Committee Member) led a blessed Consecration Service along with Rt. Rev. Dr. Abraham Mar Paulos Episcopa (BSI Executive Committee Member), Rt. Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Barnabas Suffragan Metropolitan (former Auxiliary President), and other Bishops of Mar Thoma and various Churches. The Auxiliary President, Most Rev. Dr. Yuhanon Mar Chrysostomos Metropolitan; Vice President and Rt. Rev. Dr. Oommen George graced the solemn Service with their presence. The Auxiliary Secretary, Rev. Jacob Antony Koodathinkal, Auxiliary committee members along with several regional & branch leaders of the Auxiliary attended the meeting. The Bible Society of India extended its hearty congratulations and prayerful best wishes to the new Episcopas to lead the Church in a blessed manner. We are grateful to the Mar Thoma Church for being a great partner in the ministry of reaching the world with the Word.
BSI Thodupuzha Branch Reformation (Idukki Region)
The Branch reformation meeting of BSI Thodupuzha Branch in Idukki Region was held on 23rd November 2023 at Holy Trinity CSI Church, Thodupuzha. Rev T J Sebastian presided the meeting, Auxiliary Secretary gave the inaugural address. Clergy, Pastors and members from various churches attended the meeting. The following branch officials were selected along with the 45 working committee members, Rev. Binu Kuruvila (President), Mr. M. I. James (Secretary), Mr. Varghese P. Jacob (Treasurer). We appreciate the hard work and leadership of Dr. Josemon George, (Auxiliary Committee member & Regional Co-ordinator) for organising this meeting with great success. Congratulations and best wishes to all the elected Committee members.
Bible Convention, Perumbavoor (Ernakulam East Region)
The 101th Church festival and Bible Convention of St. George Jacobite Syrian Church, Perumani, Perumbavoor was held from 12th to 19th November 2023. On 15th November, Wednesday the Auxiliary Secretary attended the meeting, shared God’s Word and introduced the BSI ministry. We thank Fr. Behanan Pathiyarathuparambil (Vicar, St. George Jacobite Syrian Church), Mr. A.V. Benny (BSI Perumbavoor Branch Secretary & Church Committee member) and entire congregation for their support and prayers for the Bible Cause.
Bible Sunday was celebrated in Robinson Memorial Methodist Church, Byculla, Mumbai on 26th November 2023. Rev. Clement Christian, Auxiliary Secretary, Bombay Auxiliary preached the word of God. Bible exhibition cum sale was arranged in the Church premises. The response was impressive and our heartfelt thanks to the Robinson Memorial Methodist Church. We thank God for the opportunity given to the BSI Bombay Auxiliary.
AIZAWL THEOLOGICAL COLLEGE VISIT TO BSI AND ECC
The 26 students of the Aizawl Theological College along with their Faculty Rev. Dr. Laldingluaia made a visit to the Bible Society of India on December 5, 2023 as part of their Urban Exposure for the BD Final Year Students for the Academic Year 2023-2024. They were welcomed by the General Secretary of the BSI Rev Dr. Kavito G. Zhimo along with other colleagues in the Logos office. GS was appreciative that they had BSI in their itinerary. As students of theology GS advised the students to have a firm foundation in the knowledge of God being rooted in the Bible. Mr. Paul Stephen, Director, Production and Marketing while acknowledging the Mizo community and their love and contribution to the BSI ministry shared few words about the journey of BSI publications with a record of the BSI being the third Bible Society among the 154 members of the United Bible Societies in terms of Bible distribution. Some students among them, who are interested in Biblical studies, received copies of Hebrew and Greek Bibles published by the BSI as gifts from the Aizawl Auxiliary. They had a very interesting time in the BSI Archives as the BSI Archivist Mr. Binu took them into a journey of the history of the Bible in its various forms and languages. For the students, holding, seeing and reading the first print of the Mizo Holy Bible (1959) and some books of the New Testament – Luke and John (1898), Acts (1899), Mathew and Mark (1906), was truly heartwarming and a dream of a lifetime come true.
After spending a meaningful time with the BSI, they proceeded to the Ecumenical Christian Centre in Whitefield to be welcomed by the Director Rev. Dr. Sham P. Thomas and the Assistant Director Mr. Samuel Sunith R. The historical journey of ECC from the beginning to this day, with the faith of the founding director Rev. Dr. M.A. Thomas, alongwith the Ecumenical contributions on the world platforms narrated by the Director was very inspiring and thought provoking. As Christmas feelings filled the air, the ATC students presented beautiful songs. The ATC students and faculty were truly thankful for the warmth of the ECC family and the fellowship that was shared.